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Adidas loses N.Y. trial against Thom Browne over three-stripe design

FILE PHOTO: Designer Thom Browne arrives at Manhattan Federal Court in New York

By Blake Brittain

(Reuters) - A Manhattan jury on Thursday said Adidas AG had failed to show luxury brand Thom Browne Inc's use of stripes on its clothing infringed the sportswear giant's signature three-stripe trademark.

The jury found the fashion house's parallel stripe designs were not likely to cause consumer confusion with Adidas' products, ending a trial that began Jan. 3. Thom Browne had argued that, among other things, its designs have a different number of stripes.

An Adidas spokesperson said in an email that the company was disappointed with the verdict but will "continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals."

A spokesperson for Thom Browne Inc said the company was pleased with the verdict.

Adidas sued New York designer Thom Browne's brand in 2021, claiming Thom Browne's four-bar and "Grosgrain" stripe patterns on its shoes and high-end activewear violated its three-stripe trademark rights.

Adidas has filed over 90 lawsuits and signed more than 200 settlement agreements since 2008 related to the trademark, according to court documents in the case. Thom Browne previously used a three-bar design on its clothing, changing it to the four-stripe design after Adidas objected in 2007.

Thom Browne said confusion between the companies' designs was unlikely because they "operate in different markets, serving different customers, and offer their products at strikingly different price points." It also said stripes are a common design element for clothing.

Adidas had planned to ask the jury for over $7.8 million in damages, plus additional punitive damages and a cut of Thom Browne's infringing sales, according to a court filing. It also requested a court order stopping Thom Browne from using the designs.

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington; Editing by David Bario and David Gregorio)